Global malaria caseloads fall by nine million in 20 years – WHO

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With an estimated 215 million cases (94 per cent) in 2019, Africa continues to account for the highest malaria burden globally.

Malaria cases decreased by about nine million in 87 malaria-endemic countries within the last 20 years, the 2020 Malaria Report of the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated.

According to the report released by the WHO on Monday, malaria cases fell from 238 million in 2000 to 229 million in 2019.

The report further noted that the number of persons at risk of having malaria per 1000 persons reduced globally from 80 in 2000 to 58 in 2015 and 57 in 2019.

“Malaria case incidence (i.e. cases per 1000 population at risk) reduced from 80 in 2000 to 58 in 2015 and 57 in 2019 globally.

“Between 2000 and 2015, global malaria case incidence declined by 27 per cent, and between 2015 and 2019 it declined by less than two per cent, indicating a slowing of the rate of decline since 2015,” the report stated.

Additionally, the global malaria mortality rate (i.e. deaths per 100 000 population at risk) reduced from about 25 in 2000 to 12 in 2015 and 10 in 2019, with the slowing of the rate of decline in the later years, the report stated.

With an estimated 215 million cases (94 per cent) in 2019, Africa continues to account for the highest malaria burden globally.

Nigeria accounted for 27 per cent of these cases and 23 per cent of these deaths in 2019.

The report also showed that malaria deaths have reduced steadily over the 2000–2019 period, from 736, 000 in 2000 to 409 000 in 2019.

Also, there was a 17 per cent decrease in total malaria deaths in under-five children who make up one of the most vulnerable groups, from 84 per cent in 2000 to 67 per cent (274 000) in 2019.

Malaria deaths in the WHO African Region reduced by 44 per cent, from 680,000 in 2000 to 384,000 in 2019, and the malaria mortality rate reduced by 67 per cent over the same period, from 121 to 40 deaths per 100,000 population at risk.

According to the report, an estimated 1.5 billion malaria cases and 7.6 million malaria deaths were averted in the period 2000–2019. Most of the cases (82 per cent) and deaths (94 per cent) were in the WHO African Region, followed by the WHO South-East Asia Region (cases 10 per cent and deaths three per cent), the report said.

Malaria at a glance
Malaria remains a life-threatening disease. It is caused by parasites transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. It is preventable and curable.

Nigeria is a high-burden and high-impact country where malaria is endemic and over half of its population is at a risk of getting infected.

Africa carries a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2019, the region was home to 94 per cent of malaria cases and deaths.

According to WHO, total funding for malaria control and elimination reached an estimated $3 billion in 2019. Contributions from governments of endemic countries amounted to $900 million, representing 31 per cent of total funding.

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